Trump promises crackdown on pro-Palestinian protests if elected

Trump tells donors that the student demonstrators are part of a ‘radical revolution’ and promises to defeat them.

Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a campaign rally [File: Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

Former United States President Donald Trump has promised that he will crack down on pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses if he wins the 2024 US presidential election.

Earlier this month, the likely Republican nominee told a small group of predominantly Jewish donors that he would expel student demonstrators, who he claimed were part of a “radical revolution”, from the US if he is elected, according to a report by The Washington Post released on Monday.

“If you get me elected, and you should really be doing this … we’re going to set that movement back 25 or 30 years,” Trump said, according to the report, quoting people at the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The former president also praised the New York police for clearing the campus at Columbia University in late April, and said the other cities needed to follow suit, saying “it has to be stopped now”.

Student protests against the Israeli war on Gaza have rocked the US over the past few weeks, prompting a police crackdown on many campuses and more than 2,000 arrests.

In mid-April, Columbia University saw a Gaza solidarity encampment, with students urging the institution to divest from companies associated with Israel. This movement spread to campuses in California, Texas, and many other states.

University administrators accused pro-Palestinian demonstrators of using anti-Semitic language and creating an unsafe environment on campus. But students rejected those claims, which they said aimed to distract people from what is happening in the Gaza Strip.

The majority of Americans below 30 years of age want a ceasefire in Gaza, according to a poll.

During the donors’ meeting in New York on May 14, Trump expressed his support for Israel’s right to continue “its war on terror” and highlighted his policies towards Israel if he is elected. He has previously said Israel was “losing the PR war” with its actions in Gaza.

“They’re losing the PR war. They’re losing it big. But they’ve got to finish what they started,” Trump said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

According to the report, Trump did not mention Netanyahu, who provoked the Republican’s ire when he acknowledged President Joe Biden was rightfully elected in 2020.

Israeli attacks on Gaza since the start of the war have killed more than 36,000 people, with 81,026 others wounded and thousands more missing, presumed dead under the rubble. Israel launched its assault on the besieged territory after a Hamas-led attack in southern Israel killed about 1,140 people.

Source: Al Jazeera